The home is where many minor accidents will occur, and the most common of these are burns. Ranging greatly in severity from minor to severe, burns can be extremely painful and debilitating. However quick treatment for burns, as soon after occurrence as possible, can help keep injuries to a minimum and limit the healing duration and scarring that occurs afterwards.
There are some cases where burns need to be treated by a medical professional as soon as possible. This occurs any severe burn, especially if it causes swelling, blistering, or involves a large area. If a burn is this severe, the victim should be taken to a medical facility immediately to receive proper treatment.
In such cases that the burn involves a large portion of the body, the victim’s vital signs should be assessed and emergency services should be called for assistance. Do not attempt to remove the clothing from around a burn since this can further aggravate the injury. Do not apply cold water to the burn site either, as this could cause the victim to go into shock. While you wait for emergency services to arrive, keep the wound clean and moist by applying damp, warm compresses and dressings. The 911 operator will also be able to give you further tips for keeping the victim comfortable until help can arrive.
However, most of the burns that are encountered around the house will not be this severe and can be treated with traditional first aid methods. Known as first degree burns, these burns are minor yet can be extremely painful. This type of burn only affects the top layer of the skin, allowing treatment to be topical in nature.
The first step in treating a first degree burn involves stopping the burning process. This involves cooling the area (and rinsing away any material, such as cooking oil, which may be extending the burn) by running the burn under cold water.
After cooling the burn, you will want to apply an antibiotic cream to prevent any infection. Then you will want to cover the burn loosely with a clean dry cloth or bandage to help protect it. If some discomfort remains, a typical over-the-counter pain reliever should help alleviate the pain.
The bandage on the burn should be changed regularly, with antibiotic cream being applied as necessary. If the burn does not appear to be healing, becomes infected, or continues to cause pain, the victim should consult a medical professional for further evaluation and treatment.
Since burns around the home can happen at any time, you should make sure that your first aid kit is continually stocked with supplies to treat burns. This includes ointment, gauze and bandages. Have phone numbers for your regular physician, as well as the hospital, easily accessible in case of an emergency situation. Young children in particular should be instructed on the best ways to avoid burns as well as what to do when something should occur. A little preparation can help you insure that you can treat a minor burn at home should one happen.